DENVER (AP) – The 25-year-old innovative freestyle snowmobile rider Caleb Moore has died after being injured in a crash last week during the Winter X Games in Colorado.
Family spokeswoman Chelsea Lawson says Moore died Thursday morning. He had been staying at a hospital in Grand Junction.
Moore was attempting a backflip on Jan. 24 in the freestyle event in Aspen when the skis on his 450-pound snowmobile caught the lip of the landing area, sending him flying over the handlebars. Moore landed face-first into the snow, and his snowmobile rolled over him.
Moore stayed down for quite some time, before walking off with help and going to a hospital to treat a concussion. Moore developed bleeding around his heart and was flown to Grand Junction for surgery.
His family later said that Moore, of Krum, Texas, suffered a complication involving his brain.
Moore honed his skills in Krum, a town about 5,000 people 50 miles northwest of Dallas that rarely sees snow. Instead, he worked on tricks by launching his sled into a foam pit. After a brief training run on snow ramps in Michigan, he was ready for his sport’s biggest stage — the 2010 Winter X Games.
In that contest, Moore captured a bronze in freestyle and finished sixth in best trick. Two years later, his biography on ESPN said, “Caleb Moore has gone from ‘beginner’s luck’ to ‘serious threat.’”
That was hardly a surprise to Vaught, who said, “Whatever he wanted to do, he did it.”
Vaught said Moore didn’t believe his sport was too extreme, but rather “it was a lifestyle.” He was good at it — along with ATV racing — as he accumulated a garage full of trophies.
Fellow snowmobile rider Levi LaVallee recently described Moore as a “fierce competitor.”
“A very creative mind,” LaVallee said. “I’ve watched him try some crazy, crazy tricks and some of them were successful, some of them not so much. But he was first guy to get back on a sled and go try it again. It shows a lot of heart.”
X Games officials said in a statement that they would conduct a thorough review of freestyle snowmobiling events and adopt any appropriate changes.
“For 18 years, we have worked closely on safety issues with athletes, course designers and other experts. Still, when the world’s best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain,” they said, noting that Moore was hurt performing a move he had done several times before.
The Moore family’s complete statement lies below:
This morning Caleb Moore passed away. He will be truly missed and never forgotten.
The family wishes to express their deep gratitude for all the prayers and support they have received from all the fans, friends and family around the world that Caleb has inspired.
They would also like to thank the physicians and medical staff at both Aspen Valley Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital, Grand Junction for their care and dedication.
At this time, the family will not be making any other public statements. They continue to decline interviews. Thank you for continuing to respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.
Arrangements for a celebration of life are being made and an announcement will be made in the coming days.
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